Police have charged former Celtic Football Club youth coach Jim McCafferty with sexual activity with a child (Wednesday 7 December), after he admitted sexually abusing young footballers in a newspaper interview.

The 71-year-old, who handed himself in to police, revealed his "paedophile tendencies" to the Irish Mirror last week, stating he previously engaged in sexual contact with around a dozen boys during his time in football.

McCafferty, who now resides in Belfast, previously lived in Glasgow and joined Celtic in 1990. The former scout, coach and kit man also worked for other Scottish football clubs including Falkirk and Hibs, before moving to Northern Ireland around seven years ago.

McCafferty, originally from Wishaw in North Lanarkshire, is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on Thursday 8 December. He had presented himself to a police station in the city on Tuesday and was subsequently arrested over offences committed in Northern Ireland.

His arrest follows on from the interview he gave to the Irish Mirror in which he admitted the offences throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

He said: "There are things I've done and I have to accept that. But now this is about me drawing the line. I don't want to hide anything. I have been haunted by what I did.

"I was lonely and the boys made me feel good. I wanted their company without a doubt, although the greatest interest was football."

He continued: "I understand it was wrong. I was wrong and I did wrong and I am sorry."

It is understood that McCafferty left Celtic in 1996, citing personal reasons. The football world has been rocked by allegations of child sexual abuse in recent weeks with a total of 16 police forces, including Police Scotland, now beginning investigations.

Around 350 alleged victims, including former England International players, have come forward to claim they were abused by multiple people at numerous football clubs. A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesperson said: "He was arrested on suspicion of sexual offences against children in Northern Ireland. He is currently helping police with their enquiries."

Jim McCafferty
Jim McCafferty (L) stands with the Celtic youth team Handout